“We have plenty of time,” he told the driver as they were going through town. This was more for reassurance than anything else, he was really worried about what might happen to the plan. Tonight was the showing of the sacred jewel ‘Wahipot Wuwunagotmi’ from Huterjar a long-lost kingdom in the undiscovered jungles of the Amazon. It was said to at the jewel had special powers and many were out to seek that power. Including himself.
Hunter Jack Row, a 26-year-old man with nothing left to lose and looking to die tonight. But before he did that why not have some fun along the way? He had just finished sorting out a few things that he always wanted to do, hook up randomly with someone, do some drugs, get into some trouble with a few friends. He was picking them up now, he told them earlier his plan and they were all for it.
The first was at the Dark Waves Bar by the pier, his name as mysterious as himself so we opt to call him Van Wolf. He had said that Van was short for the nickname his stepmother gave him but his real name was for those that he trusted. He was always hiding something from us but it was nothing important until it became important that he had to tell us. He was always reliable like that, we never asked him for details just accepted him as he is.
“Jack,” Van got in the backseat and leaned against the front seat not bothering with his seat belt. “Intel tells me that the roof is unguarded.”
“How do we get up to the roof?”
“Elevator,” he said that like it was the simplest of solutions.
“You’re going to have to run that by me again, elevator? Are you nuts? You expecting us to walk through the front door-”
“Yes, it’s a showing. We’re allowed to go see it, take notes and we go to the upper floor and plan a strategy that will help you achieve your goal.”
“You say it so simply.”
“Because it is, but the jewel isn’t without its cautions. Those that come close to it will experience discomfort, the handlers have to take shifts. In the first watch of the jewel, it has been reported that people have harmed themselves within the second hour of being near it. Are you sure you want to go through with this, Jack?”
“Just as you said, we’ll take turns.”
“I’m not against this, but they say that voices could be heard from the jewel. You know I don’t like hearing about voices coming from objects, Jack.”
“You’ve handled worst before, why does a silly ghost story scare you so much, Van?”
“It’s unknown, anything unknown is scary. Just like snakes.”
“You still freaking out about that little garden snake?” Van was home one day and a garden snake made its way into his house. He called Jack up so calmly to take care of it, when he got there the guy was on the fridge having trapped the snake under a clear container in the middle of the floor. How he managed to do this was still unknown to Jack but that day Van had revealed his fear to him.
“Yes! I’m still scared to set foot in my own home, don’t laugh!” Jack had started to laugh when the mysterious man yelled. It wasn’t often that he shows this side of him so it was always fun teasing him about it afterwards.
After it became quiet in the car did it turn back to the haunting chill.
The next guy, they were picking him up at his place, he was tech-savvy. About the same age as Jack, Van never told his age because he said it was embarrassing. So our only guess is that he’s younger than Jack and the tech.
Stopping at the tech’s place they waited.
“You think we’ll make it?” Jack asked, Van, stayed quiet lost in his mind as he stared out the window. Jack couldn’t help but notice that Van knew more than he showed, but those thoughts were put aside as the tech walked out.
“Last-minute requests are exciting! Sup babe’s,” the tech made Van go to the other side of the car.
“Take Sid to make it weird, so we have a base of a plan,” Jack started ignoring the small squabble in the backseat. Sid was trying to kiss Van and the mysterious man wasn’t having any of it.
“Just one kiss, Sweetheart!”
“Lay off! Or do you plan on being stabbed?” Van was using his foot to keep Sid at a distance.
“You know I love it rough, darling! Give it to me,” Sid was then whacked on the head by Jack.
“You want to go to the event and scope it out, I got it. Now, who’s going to kiss me? I won’t work unless I get a kiss.”
The car was silent as Jack and Van looked between each other as if silently saying ‘It’s your turn’.
“We don’t need him to work right now, do we?” Van finally asked.
“Cheater!” Sid called out and pouted the rest of the way to the event. As soon as the car was parked Sid was the first to step out followed by Jack then Van. There was a line up so the three men waited in the line. Sid hung off of Jack now while Van was looking anxious, he looks as if he lost someone in a crowd.
“Brother!” Van turned to the voice and smiled, “Thought you might be here, how have you been? How’s work?”
“Hey little Heartbeat, I’m good, work is work. How about you? What have you been up to?” Van asked the girl hugging him.
“I’m doing great, I’m getting good grades and most of the things they teach are what you already taught me. Who are they?”
“Brazen Friends, Hunter Row and Sidney Stone. Be cautious of them, who knows what filth they’ve picked up. Who you here with?”
“Jennifer and Athena, you remember them.”
“Athena was the one that had a crush on me right? Or was that Abigail? Brooke?”
“Brother, all my friends have a secret crush on you.”
“Stop having so many friends then and they should know that my love is only for my little sister.”
“No, I need my friends.”
“You don’t need them, you just want them for the company when you’re bored of setting the house on fire.”
“I only did that once and it was an accident!”
“Leaving the grilled cheese alone wasn’t an accident, who let you cook like that?”
“I forgot! And it never happened again! After all, my chef brother taught me how to cook properly.”
“Damn straight,” Van continued to talk with her in a more quiet voice now. Jack and Sid only caught bits of it. “Hey, little Heartbeat, you won’t need me around anymore, will you? You have so many people around you now.”
“Silly brother, of course, I’ll need you.”
“No, you don’t. You don’t need me anymore.”
“Just because we don’t see each other much doesn’t mean I don’t need you.”
“I love you little Heartbeat, go see your friends and grow happy.” Neither of them questioned if Van knew something or not. It was probably a precaution in case they get thrown into jail. But his little sister smiled and left the three men alone to wait until their turn to see the gem. Jack and Sid kept to themselves ignoring the quiet mysterious man knowing fully well that he would want to be left alone for a bit.
It was their turn to see the jewel and it was beautiful, it shone like a small star that fell right out of the sky. People made up an invisible barrier from the stone, not daring to get any closer to it. Jack and Sid focused on the gem while Van was off in his world again. Sometimes it was frustrating to work with Van, with how often he’s off in space.
Jack felt the invisible barrier and shivered, the ‘Wahipot Wuwunagotmi’ had in emanating an aura of the darkest kind. Sid after seeing the jewel said he faintly heard a voice saying ‘Why did you take me? Put me back!’. Sid and Jack started whispering so as not to break the silence of the room.
“What do you think?” Sid asked slightly trembling.
“I don’t know, I don’t want to go near it,” Sid agreed with Jack on that one.
“Those two guards, the one beside the jewel and the one on the wall are undercover police officers,” Van said to them. “There’s probably more of them but those two are the only ones I’ve noticed since we stepped inside.”
“How can you tell?” Jack asked thankfully for the distraction.
“Look at how formal they are, how their eyes keep moving,” Van informed, “What are the chances that they will stop me from getting closer to the gem?”
“They will never let you past, hey!” Jack tried to grab a hold of Van as he walked towards the gem bravely.
No one moved.
Breaths were held as the hooded man walked closer to the glass box holding the jewel.
“Get back here!” Jack harshly whispered breaking the silence as he looked from his friend to the security guards.
It started small. A few dry coughs as Van walked closer, he was right, no one tried to stop him from getting a closer look. He stood in front of the case and looked at it, gauging it, what held the box together. At least that’s what Jack and Sid hoped. But by the looks of it, he was just standing there staring at it as if under a spell.
The security guard that was closer tried to get Van’s attention by clearing his throat, “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to step back.”
“I’m fine, as long as I’m not here for two hours nothing will happen,” at the end of his sentence Van coughed a few times.
“You have fifteen minutes,” the security guard went back to his post away from the stone and watched Van closely. A few people murmured and decided to get a closer look but couldn’t stay long as they were starting to feel the terrible effects of the gem and retreated behind the invisible line. Jack watched as Van’s cough started to get more frequent and this started to worry him. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore and walked up to Van, feeling a slight headache, he grabbed the sleeve of Van’s jacket and started pulling him back.
Sid and Jack were relieved to see that he wasn’t resisting and they guided him to a bench to rest. Van then took out an inhaler and took a few puffs, Jack sat beside him rubbing Van’s back gently. Sid remained standing and watched as a guard walked over to them.
“You okay, Sir?” the guard asked.
“If I’m feeling how you look then I’m fantastic,” Van said.
“As long as you’re okay.”
“Be careful, they say I’m a real thief,” Van called after the guard as he walked away back to his post.
“Still ticking off the bucket list?” Sid asked nudging Van’s shoulder.
“It took me so long to come up with that, that was terrifying. You make it look so easy!”
“It’s a gift my friend, not everyone is well equipped. But that was smooth, nice job,” Sid said and they shared a high-five. They soon got on an elevator to the roof and started sharing their notes. Van had collected most of the notes it seems. The guards, the gem, the security system, the names of the officers, the names of the guards, the call signs, where the police cars were parked. All but the plan since he was so kind to let Jack and Sid work it out.
Soon night fell and the three started putting their plan into action. Jack was the most nimble out of the other two so he would be aiming for the jewel while Van became a distraction and Sid stayed in the shadows. Sid watched from his laptop that he brought along tapping into the cameras and instructing them where to go. Van was tasked with taking a few small things and making noises to bring the guards to him. Sid watched both men as they worked. He saw Jack lowing himself towards the jewel and waiting for Van’s noise to continue further.
Jack nabbed the stone easily and Van was running away from the guards that he collected.
“Jack get out of there! Van can’t keep running,” Sid said through the call and soon Jack was back up the rope while Van made a way for his escape. Sid and Jack got to the car first and waited for Van to show.
He arrived on the other side of the building with the guards chasing after him and the police cars started to mobilize. Sid knowing that Van would jump through the car window rolled it down on both sides. The car started to move and Van picked up his pace and just as Sid predicted jumped through the window and they started to speed out of the lot.
“Did you have to take a long way?”
“They trapped me! And worse yet it was the one I flirted with that almost caught me!” Sid laughed as the car drove to the outskirts of the city with a police force behind them.
“I’ve got people to set up a few bikes for us, you guys do know how to drive a motorbike right?” Sid asked.
“Yeah, I’ve borrowed a college’s before, should be simple enough,” Jack said.
“I’ve used one for deliveries.”
“The first four are decoy’s the ones hiding further in the bushes are the ones we take.”
The car skidded shielding the decoy bikes as the four men got out to head for the hidden escape plan. The cars behind them stopped and started shouting at them to stop and surrender. Van got on his bike and started going Sid followed after and then Jack. They started in different directions but not without showing the bag the jewel was in. Playing keep-away with each other before separating.
The police on a motorbike showed up to try and force a surrender and pulled up beside Van, who stayed on the road acting as a decoy once again.
“Pull over!” the policeman said.
“Ah shoot, just had to be the cute one,” Van said and tried to speed up to get away from the officer.
“Cute? Van you crushing on the uniform?” Sid said through the call laughing when Van told him to ‘Shove it’. Van danced with the officer hoping to distract the others that he had the gem.
Jack pulled up behind and gave the bag to Van and made a quick exit once again. Now that the confirmation of the object of desire was in sight they head rushed the man with it. It went on for a few more rounds, a few more misdirections and a cunning move by Van by changing his voice to match the officer’s and directed the cruiser to a different road.
They were coming to the cliff's turn-offs and Van made a horrid discovery that he couldn’t slow down. He told the others and they grouped up on the bridge, saying that they will go down together. Van had grabbed the ‘Cute’ officers walkie and told them about the drop before they sped up.
The cops slowed down almost immediately and the next few moments were glorious. The sun was rising over the water, clouds passing by in white wisps, and the feeling of flying over the edge of the cliffs.
It was evident.
No one could have survived the fall, not us four, as the driver, I knew that. It was a blast hanging with these guys, they took me in so easily. We became a family. But all four of us knew that.
We were never going to make it.